Africa, day 4. Generators

Published: 29 July 2011

We had heard the heavy noises from the generators during the last few nights, and the hotel receptionist had told us it was because of the power cuts. Indeed, she thought it was funny we asked something so common in Dar es Salaam. But we were sheltered every night in our hotel, with light and hot water whenever we wanted (thanks to the generators, of course), little did we know that in a few days time, we would experience what life is like for those without generators on the Island of Zanzibar...

Ensuring a modern and sustainable energy in as many families as possible was one of the objectives of SEDC (Sustainable Energy and Development Centre), an organisation based in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam, and founded in 1994. Almost 20 years of working towards an easy energy access in Tanzanian houses where nowadays, just 15% of the population has electricity access.

Maybe the energy issue was not very close to us before, and I imagine that is because we are so used to our eastern commodities. Unfortunately, staying 8 hours without power in Tanzania had become something very common, especially in the rural areas.  

Almost everyone, especially young people, has a mobile phone in Tanzania. Nobody wants to be out of touch. But something as simple as re-charging your phone with a plug can be a nightmare in the rural areas of the country, where access to electricity is not very common (just 2% of houses have electricity).

With the purpose of solving this problem, SEDC has recently created a big battery that works with solar energy (a great natural resource in the country). Of course, buying one of these instruments is quite expensive, but it has become an entrepreneurial business in some rural areas, where Tanzanian people pay a few shillings in order to charge their mobile phones near home. Great idea!



Battery that works wiht solar energy at SEDC (Dar es Salaam)